Innovation – A few pointers to what works well

Product Management

Innovation – A few pointers to what works well

Ok, so you want to innovate? Come up with a service or a product that dazzles and pushes the user off the seat, only to want him to get up again and use it again ? What does it take, to deliver such a product or service?

There should be a meticulous way of evaluating what you have as an Idea. An idea should be evaluated on various parameters. These parameters are different for each product. But I’ll try to take my shot at defining a set of parameters that can help you evaluate your product.

Is it Obvious?

If you can spot something that becomes obvious before anyone has thought of it, it will surely be a bumper hit.  But there are different dimensions to this. What? How? Is it useful?
Yet again I would like to quote the example ofGoogle. Searching the web was not obvious till the time Google showed the world how to do it. Hence the term ‘Googling was defined’.  So the business of search became clear henceforth. One important thing to understand is that – Why should people use it? If you have an obvious answer to it, you are well on your way to creating a successful product. Take Twitter for example, was it obvious for people to update what they are doing. Not in the beginning, but later it appealed and updating a status every few minutes became an obvious thing.

So the Crux is that if a product is going to become the obvious choice, you will obviously create a great product.

How deep is it?

Deepness is related to the value that is being delivered by the product.  LinkedIn evolved as professional networking site and added a few features of social networking later.  LinkedIn offers deep value by leveraging your connections, it can help you find a job or reach out to an HR of a company. Face book is also not far behind. It also offers immense way of connecting to your friends and leveraging connections. But most things are deeper than they seem at first glance. Practically any application, once people start using it, can be used as a lever to more activity and benefit delivery. Being smart about what you’re leveraging is key.

So the idea is that you products should deliver value, consistently and with the same experience so that users can connect to it every time they use it.

Is it panoramic and wide?

When Ted Rheingold launched Dogster, as a joke, he didn’t know there were enough people out there who would be interested in making their dogs web pages to actually build a business. It refers to the size and variety of folks using your product. If you have a product that is able to connect to the users and delivers deep value – does it necessarily cater to the majority masses? Or is it limited to a set of niche users? Answering this question is very important. And you will have a crystal clear understanding of who will use your product.

The more the users, the merrier it gets!

Spirit of Innovation
Spirit of Innovation

Is it Viral?

How do people get to know of you product? Is it the talk of the town? Are people hooked on to it?

I consider this as an important criterion, for success.  Like every new pub or disco that opens up in town, it’s a matter of a few weeks before it goes Bang or bust. This is because there are so many folks on the lookout. If they like it, they will do your bit of marketing and penetration. By talking to friends and publicizing of your product and coaxing them to get on to it. But if the product is not contagious, it will not spread.

So think again, Is your product contagious ?

Personally Appealing?

I know you must have gone over this Gyan many times over “Great products almost always come from someone scratching their own itch. Create something you want to exist in the world. Be a user of your own product. Hire people who are users of your product. Make it better based on your own desires”. But the truth is that this Gyan holds true when you want to venture out with a new product.
You should create a product or think of an idea that you really compel you to use it, and other follow suit. Why it is that ‘Tweetdeck’ is liked by many users more than the web interface of twitter itself. Simply because it has a simple interface, you don’t have to open a browser and provides handy utilities to perform most of the tweeting tasks. Simple.

Money money?

I am of a certain belief that if you can create a product that can deliver compelling value, you can figure out the business model pretty well
(or employ people who can).  It makes sense for your idea to create value and earn money, so i would not get deep into the kinetics of it. However, if you have a different perspective – Please let me know.

So ceteris paribus, if you product or idea has the capability to ring in cash registers – It will be the pick of the litter.

Ver 1.0  – Are you ready?

Yes, this is a question you would like to answer before all the above things are in place. Let’s take an example to understand it better. Tractability is a healthy mix of completion and timing. Building a new content management system will be easy but less tractable as the bar is much higher. There are already so many CMS present in the market. Building the first commercial airplane was difficult, even when there was no competition. Take twitter for example – People did not know what to do with a status update with limited characters, but now everyone is hooked on to it. You can do marketing, jobs, reach out to folks etc… the possibilities are endless.
So, if you are new and tiny, tractability is the key. Momentum can be built up easily – after all momentum is something that every start up would require.

Ok, enough said.  Now you have an understanding or a refresher to what you already knew. What’s stopping you? Take the the plunge and show the world what you have to offer. If there are more ways by which we can collaborate and create a road map to successfully evaluating a new product idea, let us work. I’d like to hear more from you ( post comments below, for all to participate).

Let’s evolve.

*All products/brands mentioned in the article above belong to their respective owners. Examples are indicative and does not endorse or reject any product whatsoever.

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